Thursday, 25 October 2007

Corrupting the Young

“For longer than anyone can remember in our pseudoliberal times it has been the accepted rule of our newspaper press to ‘defend our young people’: from whom? from what? The answers to these questions sometimes remain in a fog of uncertainty, and thus the matter takes on a most ridiculous and even comic aspect, especially when it involves attacks on other organs of the press in the sense that ‘we’re more liberal than you are, you see; you are attacking young people and so must be more reactionary’. . . . It’s worth pondering this: ‘I’ve demonstrated that I am a liberal, that I praise our young people and take to task those who don’t praise them—that’s enough to keep our subscribers happy, and the matter’s done with, thank goodness!’ Indeed, ‘the matter’s done with’, for only the bitterest enemy of our young people could undertake to defend them in this way.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, “One of Today’s Falsehoods”, 1873, in A Writer’s Diary, Vol.1 (1873-1876), tr. K. Lantz (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1994), p.281.

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